Saturday, November 15, 2008


Pictured here is the newsstand at Fondamente Nove on the north side of the islands that make up Venice, Italy two days after the Obama victory. Obama, oh-yes!

Last week I was there for a conference on art, culture and the public sphere. The conference was terrific, but the downside was that I missed the election day celebration at home.

Friends said it felt like one images V-day would have felt. The end of one long war . . . The liberation of a nation held hostage. One friend reported that back in New York everyone was dancing in the street, coming up and hugging her and high-fiving her as she walked up to the Apollo Theatre for the celebration in Harlem. People, she said, were wearing buttons with photographs of departed parents and grandparents, wishing they could be here to witness the historic transition.

At the conference over in Venice, over lunch, a sociologist from the mideast asked me how I felt about the election results and I surprised myself as my eyes started to well up. Teary-eyed I said what so many have said — that the Obama victory is a repudiation not only of 8 years of presidential criminality, but of hundreds of years of racial bigotry.

I was apprehensive early on when it looked as though makeover maven Oprah Winfrey was choosing the next president of the United States. And I was annoyed with that primary remark "You're like-able enough Hillary." But in the end it's easy to see that Oprah got this right. When America needed an extreme makeover, it looked toward Oprah and Obama. O-yes.